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Eugene BirdBorder Crossing: Al Azzariyah (2005)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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It's hard to find the words to describe this scene. A friend suggested this quote from Fadi Kiblawi:

"Al-Ayzariyah has perhaps one of the more disturbing constructions of the wall. On my way to Jerusalem, I took the route through this Palestinian community. Bear in mind, Al-Ayzariyah falls within IsraelÂs Jerusalem Municipal borders and its residents pay taxes to the Jerusalem Municipality. The main road, eerily void of cars, is brusquely interrupted by concrete eight meters in height and endless in width. To the right, houses, and to the left, a mosque; all practically one with the invasive eyesore. Al-Ayzariyah is entirely cut off from Jerusalem, while MaÂale Adumim, a Jewish settlement further away to the east, enjoys unfettered access. The single possible rationale of this portion is to further disjoin Palestinians from their capital in IsraelÂs heinous attempts to Judaize Jerusalem through a process of depopulating it of its native Arabs."

On the other side of the wall is the Mount of Olives. The men in the last frame are likely waiting for the soldiers to leave so they can go to, or home from, their jobs.

You can read the rest of Kiblawi's narrative (Facing My Forest) at:

This movie is part of the collection: Community Video

Producer: Eugene Bird
Production Company: a l c h y m e d i a
Sponsor: Council for the National Interest
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: Regional: Palestine: Azzariyah; Regional: Israel; Regional: Middle East; Wall; fence; separation barrier; apartheid wall; Jerusalem; Mount of Olives; sheep; shepherds
Contact Information:

Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

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Average Rating: 3.33 out of 5 stars3.33 out of 5 stars3.33 out of 5 stars3.33 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: iranmct - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - January 13, 2015
Subject: Great
Great video and article. thank you.

مشاوره مدیریت
Reviewer: ccb - - February 2, 2011
Subject: To maccabeemchai
If the wall is so great for Israel's security, why has it launched two wars since this was built?

End the occupation, it's the only way to break the cycle of violence.
Reviewer: micah6vs8 - - January 28, 2011
Subject: Disgusting
This is the deal,

Reason, terror bombings of civilians. Since building 98% reduction. Stop killing women and children, wall torn down. Simple.
Reviewer: macabeemchai - 1.00 out of 5 stars - March 28, 2010
Subject: Wall
Reason, terror bombings of civilians. Since building 98% reduction. Stop killing women and children, wall torn down. Simple.
Reviewer: AlexJonesLemming - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - November 2, 2006
Subject: Palestine
Even in the most classic libertarian capitalist sense, Paleastinian Arabs were deprived of their property. Often taken by force, or deeded by Ottomans and "sold" to Zionists.

Naturally, there were struggles, but before this heavy influx of the Zionist Jews, Jews and Arabs lived side by side. It might help to know that Jaboninsky's friends nicknamed him Vladimir Hitler. Many Jews were simply European refugees, but they didn't just relocate, they took over, and Britain and the United Nations saw fit to take property and give it to them.

In other cases, conflict led to Arabs fleeing in terror from better-equipped Zionist militias. Betar was a faction trained under Mussolini.

Even in Jerusalem today, Kafkaesque laws are created to seize property from 'vacant' owners who when they go to work. Do you 'abandon' your house when you go to work or visit your family? Restriction of movement means you cannot drive your car home, if it has Palestinian plates, but you also cannot get Israeli plates if you are an Israeli-Arab citizen.

Some of these things change from time to time, sudden new restrictions and sudden demolitions of homes.

The WALL is not merely a wall when the State puts it through your backyard or through your farm, or uses it to surround a town with one guarded entrance, or to seize water resources and farmland. Building settlements and the Wall usually includes uprooting orchards and olive gardens, some 1000+ years old. Olive trees that are sustainance and livlihood are sometimes taken to Israel proper for Jewish people to plant as decoration.

Ideology aside, this is theft, and not in some philosophical sense, just outright theft. The Wall is a strategic tool of that theft -- it looks like just a barrier to the outside world, but it is a trap and a cage. If the goal were truly security, tear down the wall and allow Arabs to have industry and economy and farming, instead of forcing dependence on Israeli State and creating imprisoned cheap labor for 'criminals' who are allowed to sneak into Israel to work.

See interview on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman with Yehuda Shaul, former Israeli soldier, and the co-founder of Breaking the Silence.

Hebron is where that Israeli Soldier protected a small enclave of settlers who get nearly exclusive resources from State, surrounded by masses of Palestinians in forced poverty and subject to sudden arrest.

-- an American Jew sick and tired of deceit and injustice in the name of Judaism
Reviewer: mmdanziger - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - June 21, 2006
Subject: Good color saturation but rather pointless
I found this film to be rather pointless. It shows the wall and some presumably Palestinian Arabs walking around it. The living conditions shown in the first half were really quite good compared with Arabs living as Israeli citizens and the lower/middle class Israeli Jews/Christians as well.

I think that viewers may not understand that point, that the standard of living in the Middle East is lower than in the West. The apartment buildings are unfinished, people hang their clothes to dry because they probably can't afford to dry them in a dryer, the streets are not paved so nicely, the surrounding area is dirty (this is also a climatic thing--in Jerusalem there are frequently dust storms called "sharav" which make it virtually impossible to keep anything clean--jewish or arab). These are realities that confront Jew and Arab alike and are hardly part of some racist scheme to marginalize the Palestinian people. Even towards the end, with the appearance of the more apparently poor Arabs--bear in mind two things: these poor are not all that poor by regional standards and the Bedouin choose to live as nomadic herders.

The fact that there is livestock roaming the streets also has nothing to do with the "occupation" and the squalor in which the Palestinians live. Any one who has walked the streets of Acre or hiked through central Israeli countryside has seen that the Bedouin tend livestock wherever they are. I understand that such is the case in other Arab states.

I'm not even saying that there aren't Arabs in the occupied territories who live in squalor and unnecessary suffering exacerbated by the presence of the Israelis. I believe that there are instances of that--not as much as those rallying for support of the intifada worldwide would have you believe--but they exist. The point is that this film doesn't portray that.

The wall seems to be highlighted as bad and scary and much time is spent upon. But there doesn't seem to be any bad consequences of it other than the fact that it exists. The wall is bad because it is a wall. Ok. That's an interesting thesis and certainly everyone agrees that they would prefer to live in a world without a security fence/wall. But, given that the Israelis assume that they have a right to exist (and who doesn't?) and that that right allows them to defend themselves (within reason), and that they have a clear and present danger from unignorable sectors of the Palestinian population who are well localized geographically--people who have expressed in as many words that they will continue to fight by any means necessary to destroy Israel. What are they expected to do?

A wall isn't such a bad idea. And it has certainly worked at preventing terror. (Another thing that it has prevented has been burglary and car theft. In Haifa, the car theft went down by something like 80% if I recall correctly. Why? The whole conflict is great for car thiefs. Steal a car, run with it into the nearest arab village. If the police follow and try to arrest you, it's a war crime and zionist pigs and occupation. Great deal.)

I am not saying that the wall is such a great thing, it should certainly not harm the Arab population any more than is absolutely necessary to insure the security of the Israeli population. However, those who claim that the Israelis deserve to live yet must not even inconvenience the Palestinians with a wall are either uninformed or misleading their audience. It certainly seems like those who claim that are saying little more than that Israel has no right to exist and if all the Jews are driven into the sea, so be it. (Just like the good old days...there hasn't been a proper pogrom in a while--things have been too quiet since the holocaust) And if the Israelis take this view as a bit offensive, is it such a surprise?
Despite all that, I do not see the claim that the Arabs are being inconvenienced unduly expressed in this film. The Bedouin crossing the border exchanges a couple phrases with the Israeli guard (who, btw, doesn't seem to actually speak Arabic--the soldiers generally learn a few phrases and that's it) who lets him pass right away. The whole scene seems rather tranquil and unagitated.

Regarding the wall, I'll say something politically incorrect: if it's a landgrab, then it's a landgrab. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians see any great sanctity in the pre-67 borders. So let there be 2006 borders, that would be a major step up from some kind of land of unprecedented legal status which is part of Israel yet whose denizens are not Israeli. (Of course the Israelis couldn't accept them all as citizens, because then it wouldn't be a Jewish state--tight spot. Democracy at work.)But even so, if this film had come to judge that issue, it would have at least had some kind of a relevant thesis.

Also, the extended scene of the two kids contemplating the wall seemed a bit farfetched. The kids look like they are between 7 and 10. Have you ever met a kid that age? They don't sit around contemplating the geopolitical ramifications of their situation. They ride bikes, they adapt, they play games. The shot of them almost crying because the wall exists seemed almost absurd. I don't know what the story behind that shot was but it does not strike me as being entirely candid. Even if it was entirely spontaneous and a true expression of the children's emotions I see no rational indictment of the wall.

We would all like to live without security fences/walls but when given the choice of living with walls or not living, the question becomes ridiculous. That is, at least officially, the israeli position. Even from a Palestinian perspective, I would charge that any measure to establish an economically stable solution, one state or two state, would be in the Palestinian interest as much as the Israeli. They are destroying themselves with the intifada--before the intifada there was much better living conditions for them--Israelis would walk through gaza city buying in the markets there, palestinians could walk across the border with no trouble--what does that indicate? That the wall is an issue of the intifada, not the occupation. OK, so you'll say but what is the intifada an issue of, it is an issue of the occupation. Certainly it is related, but peaceful pursuit of political goals would have led to a much less miserable situation.

As you may have guessed, I am not the most outspoken supporter of all things Palestinian but if I was going to make a movie of how horrible the Israelis are and what abject conditions dominate the Palestinian life, this would not be it. I would go to Qalqilya, to Ramallah, to Rafiah--where journalists get kidnapped as well as jews, arabs and soldiers. That's where you'll find good propaganda footage. The problem is that it's pretty hard now to blame that on the occupying Israelis because it's in Palestinian hands. But if you think there will now be a dearth of propaganda films, don't worry, they'll find a way.

As just a closing point in the films defense, they didn't hack together footage from here and there to make the situation seem worse than it really is. In that sense it is more of a failure at communicating a message but it is also not misrepresenting reality. Kudos for that.
Reviewer: Newfoundmass - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 9, 2005
Subject: Powerful
Rarely do you see a unfiltered view of the living coniditons of the Palestinians. So often the Israelis are the ones that get sympathy but it's like night and day when comparing the living conditions of the two peoples. Thank you for sharing this!
Reviewer: Newfoundmass - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 9, 2005
Subject: Powerful
Rarely do you see a unfiltered view of the living coniditons of the Palestinians. So often the Israelis are the ones that get sympathy but it's like night and day when comparing the living conditions of the two peoples. Thank you for sharing this!

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